Peer Gynt
Overview
 
Peer Gynt (ˈpeːr ˈɡʏnt; ˈpɪər ˈɡɪnt) is a five-act play in verse
Verse (poetry)
A verse is formally a single line in a metrical composition, e.g. poetry. However, the word has come to represent any division or grouping of words in such a composition, which traditionally had been referred to as a stanza....

 by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

, loosely based on the fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

 Per Gynt
Per Gynt
Per Gynt is a Norwegian fairy tale from Gudbrandsdal. It is the loose basis for Henrik Ibsen's play, Peer Gynt.Per Gynt tells the story of the eponymous Per Gynt , a hunter from Kvam, and his various exploits. Gynt rescues three dairy-maids from trolls and shoots the Bøyg, a gigantic, worm-shaped...

. It is the most widely performed Norwegian play. According to Klaus Van Den Berg, the "cinematic script blends poetry with social satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 and realistic scenes with surreal
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

 ones". Peer Gynt has also been described as the story of a life based on procrastination and avoidance.
Encyclopedia
Peer Gynt (ˈpeːr ˈɡʏnt; ˈpɪər ˈɡɪnt) is a five-act play in verse
Verse (poetry)
A verse is formally a single line in a metrical composition, e.g. poetry. However, the word has come to represent any division or grouping of words in such a composition, which traditionally had been referred to as a stanza....

 by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

, loosely based on the fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

 Per Gynt
Per Gynt
Per Gynt is a Norwegian fairy tale from Gudbrandsdal. It is the loose basis for Henrik Ibsen's play, Peer Gynt.Per Gynt tells the story of the eponymous Per Gynt , a hunter from Kvam, and his various exploits. Gynt rescues three dairy-maids from trolls and shoots the Bøyg, a gigantic, worm-shaped...

. It is the most widely performed Norwegian play. According to Klaus Van Den Berg, the "cinematic script blends poetry with social satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 and realistic scenes with surreal
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

 ones". Peer Gynt has also been described as the story of a life based on procrastination and avoidance. A first edition of 1,250 copies was published on 14 November 1867 in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

. Despite having swiftly sold out, a re-print of 2,000 copies, which followed after only 14 days, didn't sell out until seven years later.

While Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
Bjørnstjerne Martinius Bjørnson was a Norwegian writer and the 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. Bjørnson is considered as one of The Four Greats Norwegian writers; the others being Henrik Ibsen, Jonas Lie, and Alexander Kielland...

 admired the play's "satire in Norwegian egotism, narrowness, and self-sufficiency" and described it as "magnificent", Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author, fairy tale writer, and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," "The Snow Queen," "The Little Mermaid," "Thumbelina," "The Little Match Girl," and "The Ugly Duckling."...

, Georg Brandes
Georg Brandes
Georg Morris Cohen Brandes was a Danish critic and scholar who had great influence on Scandinavian and European literature from the 1870s through the turn of the 20th century. He is seen as the theorist behind the "Modern Breakthrough" of Scandinavian culture...

 and Clemens Petersen
Clemens Petersen
Clemens Petersen was a Danish esthetician, theatre critic and literary critic. He was born in the parish Asminderup in Odsherred, Zealand. In his position as theatre critic and literary critic for Fædrelandet he had a significant influence on public opinion, and is also credited for helping the...

 all joined a widespread hostility. Enraged by Petersen's criticisms in particular, Ibsen defended his work by arguing that it "is poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

; and if it isn't, it will become such. The conception of poetry in our country, in Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, shall shape itself according to this book." Despite this defense of his poetic achievement in Peer Gynt, the play was his last to employ verse; from The League of Youth
The League of Youth
The League of Youth is a play by Henrik Ibsen finished in early May 1869. It was Ibsen's first play in colloquial prose and marks a turning point in his style towards realism and away from verse. It was widely considered Ibsen's most popular play in nineteenth-century Norway...

(1869) onwards, Ibsen was to write drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

 only in prose
Prose
Prose is the most typical form of written language, applying ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech rather than rhythmic structure...

.

Ibsen wrote Peer Gynt in deliberate disregard of the limitations that the conventional stagecraft
Stagecraft
Stagecraft is a generic term referring to the technical aspects of theatrical, film, and video production. It includes, but is not limited to, constructing and rigging scenery, hanging and focusing of lighting, design and procurement of costumes, makeup, procurement of props, stage management, and...

 of the 19th century imposed on drama. Its 40 scenes move uninhibitedly in time and space and between consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

 and the unconscious
Unconscious mind
The unconscious mind is a term coined by the 18th century German romantic philosopher Friedrich Schelling and later introduced into English by the poet and essayist Samuel Taylor Coleridge...

, blending folkloric
Scandinavian folklore
Scandinavian folklore is the folklore of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and the Swedish speaking parts of Finland.Collecting folklore began when Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden sent out instructions to all of the priests in all of the parishes to collect the folklore of their area...

 fantasy and unsentimental realism.

Raymond Williams
Raymond Williams
Raymond Henry Williams was a Welsh academic, novelist and critic. He was an influential figure within the New Left and in wider culture. His writings on politics, culture, the mass media and literature are a significant contribution to the Marxist critique of culture and the arts...

 compares Peer Gynt with August Strindberg
August Strindberg
Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography,...

's early drama Lucky Peter's Journey (1882) and argues that both explore a new kind of dramatic action
Mimesis
Mimesis , from μιμεῖσθαι , "to imitate," from μῖμος , "imitator, actor") is a critical and philosophical term that carries a wide range of meanings, which include imitation, representation, mimicry, imitatio, receptivity, nonsensuous similarity, the act of resembling, the act of expression, and the...

 that was beyond the capacities of the theatre
Theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

 of the day; both created "a sequence of images in language and visual composition" that "became technically possible only in film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

." Peer Gynt was first performed in Christiania
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

 (now Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

) on 24 February 1876, with original music composed by Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg
Edvard Hagerup Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt , and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.-Biography:Edvard Hagerup Grieg was born in...

, which includes some of today's most recognized classical pieces, In the Hall of the Mountain King
In the Hall of the Mountain King
In the Hall of the Mountain King is a piece of orchestral music composed by Edvard Grieg for the sixth scene of Act II in Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt, which premiered in Christiania on February 24, 1876....

 and Morning Mood
Morning Mood
Morning Mood is a composition belonging to Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, op. 46. This composition is often used in films, television commercials, and shows . The piece depicts the rising of the sun. Along with In the Hall of the Mountain King, Morning Mood is one of Grieg's best known works....

. It was published in a German translation in 1881, in English in 1892, and in French in 1896.

Characters

Act I

Peer Gynt is the son of the once highly regarded Jon Gynt. Jon Gynt spent all his money on feasting and living lavishly, until there was nothing left; thus, Jon had to go from his farm as a wandering salesman, leaving his wife and son behind in debt. Åse, the mother, wished to raise her son to restore the lost fortune of his father, but Peer is soon to be considered useless. He is a poet and a braggart, not unlike the Norwegian youngest son from the fairy tales, the "Ash Lad
Askeladden
Askeladden is the main character in many Norwegian folktales. In some ways, he represents the small man who succeeds where all others fail. He always wins in the end, often winning the princess and half the kingdom.-Folk tales:...

", with whom he shares some characteristics.

As the play opens, Peer gives an account of a reindeer
Reindeer
The reindeer , also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. While overall widespread and numerous, some of its subspecies are rare and one has already gone extinct.Reindeer vary considerably in color and size...

 hunt that went awry, a famous theatrical scene generally known as "the Buckride." His mother scorns him for his vivid imagination, and taunts him because he spoiled his chances with Ingrid, the daughter of the richest farmer. Peer goes straight to Ingrid's wedding, scheduled for the following day, because he may still get a chance with the bride. His mother follows quickly to stop him from shaming himself completely.

At the wedding, Peer is taunted and laughed at by the other guests, especially the local blacksmith, Aslak, who holds a grudge after an earlier brawl. But in the same wedding, Peer meets a family of Haugean
Haugean
Haugean was a pietistic state church reform movementintended to bring new life and vitality into a Norwegian State Church which had been often characterized by formalism and lethargy....

 newcomers from another valley. He instantly notices the daughter, Solveig, and asks her to dance. She refuses because of her father and because Peer's reputation has preceded him. She leaves, and Peer starts drinking. When he hears that the bride has locked herself in, he seizes the opportunity and runs away with the bride, and spends the night with her in the mountains...

Act II

His action has a consequence: Peer is banished. As he wanders the mountains, his mother, Solveig, and Solveig's father search for him. During his getaway, he meets 3 amorous dairy-maids who are waiting to be courted by troll
Troll
A troll is a supernatural being in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore. In origin, the term troll was a generally negative synonym for a jötunn , a being in Norse mythology...

s (a folklore motif from Gudbrandsdalen). He becomes highly intoxicated with them and spends the next day alone suffering from a hangover. He runs head-first into a rock and swoons, and the rest of the second act takes place in Peer's dreams. He comes across a woman clad in green who turns out to be the daughter of the troll mountain king. Together they ride into the mountain hall, and the troll king gives Peer the opportunity to become a troll if Peer would marry his daughter. Peer agrees to a number of conditions, but declines in the end. He is then confronted with the fact that the green-clad woman is with child. Peer denies this; he claims not to have touched her, but the wise troll king replies that he begat the child in his head. Crucial for the plot and understanding of the play is the question asked by the troll king: What is the difference between troll and man?

The answer given by the Old Man of the Mountain is: "Out there, where sky shines, humans say: 'To thyself be true.' In here, trolls say: 'Be true to yourself-ish.'" Egoism
Egotism
Egotism is "characterized by an exaggerated estimate of one's intellect, ability, importance, appearance, wit, or other valued personal characteristics" – the drive to maintain and enhance favorable views of oneself....

 is a typical trait of the trolls in this play. From then on, Peer uses this as his motto, always proclaiming that he is himself, whatever that is. One of the most interesting characters is the Bøyg
Bøyg
The Bøyg , also referred to as the "Great Bøyg of Etnedal", is a troll in the Scandinavian folklore of Gudbrandsdal and Telemark. Characterized as a giant, slimy serpent, it stands as a hindrance to travelers. The Bøyg is most famous as a character in Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt....

; a creature who has no real description. On the question "Who are you?" The Bøyg answers, "myself." In time, Peer also takes the Bøyg's important saying as a motto: "Go around." The rest of his life, he "beats around the bush" instead of facing himself or the truth.

Upon waking up, he is confronted by Helga, Solveig's sister, who gives him food and regards from her sister. Peer gives the girl a silver button for Solveig to keep, and asks that she not forget him.

Act III

As an outlaw, Peer struggles to build his own cottage in the hills. Solveig turns up and insists on living with him. She has made her choice, she says, and there will be no return for her. Peer is delighted and welcomes her, but as she enters the cabin, an elderly woman in a green dress appears with a limping boy at her side. This is the green-clad woman from the mountain hall. She has cursed him by forcing him to remember her, and all his previous sins, when facing Solveig. Peer hears a ghostly voice saying, "Go roundabout, Peer", and decides to leave. He tells Solveig he has something heavy to fetch. He returns in time for his mother's death, and then sets off overseas.

Act IV

Peer is away for many years, taking part in various occupations and playing various roles including that of a businessman engaged in enterprises on the coast of Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

. Here, he explains his view of life, and we learn that he is a businessman with dirty money on his hands. He has been a missionary, a slave-trader, and many other things. His friends rob him, and leave him alone on the shore. Then he finds some stolen bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

 gear, and in these clothes, he is hailed as a prophet by a local tribe. He tries to seduce Anitra, the chieftain's daughter, but she gets away, and leaves him. Then he decides to become a historian, and travels to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. He wanders through the desert, passes the Memnon
Colossi of Memnon
The Colossi of Memnon are two massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. For the past 3400 years they have stood in the Theban necropolis, across the River Nile from the modern city of Luxor.-Description:The twin statues depict Amenhotep III The Colossi of Memnon (known to locals as...

 and the Sphinx
Sphinx
A sphinx is a mythical creature with a lion's body and a human head or a cat head.The sphinx, in Greek tradition, has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and the face of a woman. She is mythicised as treacherous and merciless...

. As he addresses the Sphinx, believing her to be the Bøyg, he encounters the keeper of the local madhouse, himself insane, who regards Peer as the bringer of supreme wisdom. Peer comes to the madhouse, and understands that all of the patients live in their own worlds, being themselves to such a degree that no one cares for anyone else. In his youth, Peer had dreamt of becoming an emperor. In this place, he's finally hailed as one — the emperor of the "self." Peer despairs and calls for the "Keeper of all fools," i.e. God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

.

Act V

Finally, on his way home as an old man, he is shipwrecked. Among those on board, he meets the Strange Passenger, who wants to make use of Peer's corpse to find out where dreams have their seat. This passenger scares Peer out of his wits. He lands on shore bereft of all of his possessions, a pitiful and grumpy old man. Back home in Norway, Peer Gynt attends a peasant funeral, and an auction, where he offers for sale everything from his earlier life. The auction takes place at the very farm where the wedding once was held. Peer stumbles along, and is confronted with all that he didn't do, his unsung songs, his unmade works, his unwept tears, and his questions that were never asked. His mother comes back and claims that her deathbed went awry. He didn't lead her to heaven with his ramblings. Peer escapes and is confronted with the Button-molder, who maintains that Peer's soul must be melted down with other faulty goods unless he can explain when and where in life he has been "himself." Peer protests. He has been only that, and nothing else. Then he meets the troll king, who states that he has been a troll, not a man, most of his life. The molder comes along and says that he has to come up with something if he is not to be melted down. Peer looks for a priest to confess his sins, and a character named the Lean One (who is the Devil
Devil
The Devil is believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly...

), turns up. He believes Peer cannot be accounted a real sinner who can be sent to hell. He has not done anything serious. Peer despairs in the end, understanding that his life is forfeited. He understands he is nothing. But at the same moment, Solveig starts to sing — the cabin he himself built, is close at hand, but he dares not enter. The Bøyg in him tells him "around." The molder shows up and demands a list of sins, but Peer has none to give, unless Solveig can vouch for him. Then he breaks through to her, asking her for his sins. But she answers: "You have not sinned at all, my dearest boy." Peer does not understand — he believes himself lost. Then he asks her: "Where has Peer Gynt been since we last met? Where was I as the one I should have been, whole and true, with the mark of God on my brow?" She answers; "In my faith
Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

, in my hope
Hope
Hope is the emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life. It is the "feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best" or the act of "look[ing] forward to with desire and reasonable confidence" or...

, in my love
Love
Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

." Peer screams and calls his mother, and hides himself in her lap. Solveig sings her lullaby for him, and we might presume he dies in this last scene of the play, although there are no stage directions or dialogue to indicate that he actually does.

Behind the corner, the button-molder, who is sent by God, still waits, with the words: "Peer, we shall meet at the last cross-roads, and then we shall see if. .. I'll say no more."

Writing process

On 5 January 1867 Ibsen wrote to Frederik Hegel, his publisher, with his plan for the play: it would be "a long dramatic poem
Verse drama and dramatic verse
Verse drama is any drama written as verse to be spoken; another possible general term is poetic drama. For a very long period, verse drama was the dominant form of drama in Europe...

, having as its principal a part-legend
Legend
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

ary, part-fiction
Fiction
Fiction is the form of any narrative or informative work that deals, in part or in whole, with information or events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary—that is, invented by the author. Although fiction describes a major branch of literary work, it may also refer to theatrical,...

al character from Norwegian folklore during recent times. It will bear no resemblance to Brand
Brand (play)
Brand is a play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It is a verse tragedy, written in 1865 and first performed in Stockholm on 24 March 1867. Brand was an intellectual play that provoked much original thought....

, and will contain no direct polemic
Polemic
A polemic is a variety of arguments or controversies made against one opinion, doctrine, or person. Other variations of argument are debate and discussion...

s or anything of that kind." He began to write Peer Gynt on 14 January, employing a far greater variety of metres
Meter (poetry)
In poetry, metre is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. Many traditional verse forms prescribe a specific verse metre, or a certain set of metres alternating in a particular order. The study of metres and forms of versification is known as prosody...

 in its rhyme
Rhyme
A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds in two or more words and is most often used in poetry and songs. The word "rhyme" may also refer to a short poem, such as a rhyming couplet or other brief rhyming poem such as nursery rhymes.-Etymology:...

d verse
Verse (poetry)
A verse is formally a single line in a metrical composition, e.g. poetry. However, the word has come to represent any division or grouping of words in such a composition, which traditionally had been referred to as a stanza....

 than he had used in his previous verse plays Brand (written 1865) or Love's Comedy
Love's Comedy
Love's Comedy is a comedy by Henrik Ibsen. It was first published on 31 December 1862. As a result of being branded an "immoral" work in the press, the Christiania Theatre would not dare to stage it at first...

(written 1862). The first two acts were completed in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and the third in Casamicciola on the north of the island of Ischia
Ischia
Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It lies at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 km from the city of Naples. It is the largest of the Phlegrean Islands. Roughly trapezoidal in shape, it measures around 10 km east to west and 7 km north to south and has...

. During this time Ibsen told Vilhelm Bergsøe that "I don't think the play's for acting" when they discussed the possibility of staging the play's image of a casting-ladle
Ladle (metallurgy)
In a foundry, a ladle is a vessel used to transport and pour out molten metals. Ladles range in size from small hand carried vessels that resemble a kitchen ladle and hold or to large steelmill ladles that hold up to...

 "big enough to re-cast human beings in." Ibsen sent the three acts to his publisher on 8 August, with a letter that explains that "Peer Gynt was a real person who lived in Gudbrandsdal
Gudbrandsdal
The Gudbrandsdalen is a valley and traditional district in the Norwegian county of Oppland. The valley is oriented in a north-westerly direction from Lillehammer at Mjøsa, extending 230 km toward Romsdal...

, probably around the end of the last century or the beginning of this. His name is still famous among the people up there, but not much more is known about his life than what is to be found in Asbjørnsen
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen was a Norwegian writer and scholar. He and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe were collectors of Norwegian folklore...

's Norwegian Folktales (in the section entitled 'Stories from the Mountain')." In those stories, "Per Gynt
Per Gynt
Per Gynt is a Norwegian fairy tale from Gudbrandsdal. It is the loose basis for Henrik Ibsen's play, Peer Gynt.Per Gynt tells the story of the eponymous Per Gynt , a hunter from Kvam, and his various exploits. Gynt rescues three dairy-maids from trolls and shoots the Bøyg, a gigantic, worm-shaped...

" rescues the three dairy-maids from the troll
Troll
A troll is a supernatural being in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore. In origin, the term troll was a generally negative synonym for a jötunn , a being in Norse mythology...

s and shoots the Bøyg
Bøyg
The Bøyg , also referred to as the "Great Bøyg of Etnedal", is a troll in the Scandinavian folklore of Gudbrandsdal and Telemark. Characterized as a giant, slimy serpent, it stands as a hindrance to travelers. The Bøyg is most famous as a character in Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt....

, who was originally a gigantic, worm-shaped troll-being. Per was known to tell tall tale
Tall tale
A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual. Some such stories are exaggerations of actual events, for example fish stories such as, "that fish was so big, why I tell ya', it nearly sank the boat when I pulled it in!" Other tall tales are completely...

s of his own achievements, a trait Peer in the play inherited. The "buck-ride" story, which Peer tells his mother in the play's first scene, is also from this source, but, as Åse points out, it was originally Gudbrand Glesne from Vågå
Vågå
Vågå is a municipality in Oppland county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Gudbrandsdal. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Vågåmo....

 who did the tour with the reindeer stag and finally shot it. Following an earthquake on the island on 14 August, Ibsen left for Sorrento
Sorrento
Sorrento is the name of many cities and towns:*Sorrento, Italy*Sorrento, Florida, United States*Sorrento, Louisiana, United States*Sorrento, Maine, United States*Sorrento, Victoria, a township on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia...

, where he completed the final two acts; he finished the play on 14 October. It was published in a first edition of 1,250 copies a month later in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

.

Background

The play is widely considered to be inspired to some extent by Henrik Ibsen's own childhood and family; in particular the character Jon Gynt is considered to be based on Ibsen's father Knud Ibsen
Knud Ibsen
Knud Ibsen was the father of playwright Henrik Ibsen, and is widely considered the model for many central characters in his son's plays, including most famously Jon Gynt in Peer Gynt and Old Ekdahl in The Wild Duck, but also Daniel Hejre in The League of Youth.Once a rich merchant in Skien with a...

, who was a rich merchant before he went bankrupt. Thus, the character Peer Gynt could be interpreted as being Henrik Ibsen himself.

Grieg's music

Ibsen asked Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg
Edvard Hagerup Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt , and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.-Biography:Edvard Hagerup Grieg was born in...

 to compose incidental music
Incidental music
Incidental music is music in a play, television program, radio program, video game, film or some other form not primarily musical. The term is less frequently applied to film music, with such music being referred to instead as the "film score" or "soundtrack"....

 for the play. Grieg composed a score that plays approximately ninety minutes. Grieg extracted two suites
Peer Gynt Suites
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 is the incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's 1867 play of the same name, written by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg in 1875. It premiered along with the play on 24 February 1876 in Christiania ....

 of four pieces each from the incidental music (Opus 46 and Opus 55), which became very popular as concert music. Two of the sung parts of the incidental music ended up in these suites (the famous In the Hall of the Mountain King
In the Hall of the Mountain King
In the Hall of the Mountain King is a piece of orchestral music composed by Edvard Grieg for the sixth scene of Act II in Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt, which premiered in Christiania on February 24, 1876....

in the 1st suite with the vocal parts omitted, and the last part of 2nd suite, Solveig's Song
Solveig's Song
Solveig's Song , is sung by Solveig in the fourth act of Edvard Grieg's original Peer Gynt Op. 23, and for Suite No. 2, Op. 55, which was written as incidental music for inclusion in Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt....

, the solo part now played by violin rather than sung, though the vocal version is sometimes substituted). (Originally, the second suite had a fifth number, The Dance of the Mountain King's Daughter, but Grieg withdrew it.) Grieg himself declared that it was easier to make music "out of his own head" than strictly following suggestions made by Ibsen. For instance, Ibsen wanted music that would characterize the "international" friends in the fourth act, by melding the said national anthems (Norwegian
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, Swedish
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

). Reportedly, Grieg was not in the right mood for this task.

The music of these suites, especially Morning Mood
Morning Mood
Morning Mood is a composition belonging to Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, op. 46. This composition is often used in films, television commercials, and shows . The piece depicts the rising of the sun. Along with In the Hall of the Mountain King, Morning Mood is one of Grieg's best known works....

starting the first suite, In the Hall of the Mountain King
In the Hall of the Mountain King
In the Hall of the Mountain King is a piece of orchestral music composed by Edvard Grieg for the sixth scene of Act II in Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt, which premiered in Christiania on February 24, 1876....

, and the string lament Åse's Death later reappeared in numerous arrangements, soundtrack
Soundtrack
A soundtrack can be recorded music accompanying and synchronized to the images of a motion picture, book, television program or video game; a commercially released soundtrack album of music as featured in the soundtrack of a film or TV show; or the physical area of a film that contains the...

s, etc.

Other Norwegian composers that have written theatrical music for Peer Gynt includes Harald Sæverud
Harald Sæverud
Harald Sigurd Johan Sæverud was a Norwegian composer. He is most known for his music to Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt, Rondo Amoroso, and the Ballad of Revolt . Sæverud wrote nine symphonies, and a large number of pieces for solo piano...

 (1947), Arne Nordheim
Arne Nordheim
Arne Nordheim was a Norwegian composer who had since 1982 been living in the Norwegian State's honorary residence, Grotten, next to the Royal Palace in Oslo. Nordheim received numerous prizes for his compositions, and was elected an honorary member of the International Society for Contemporary...

 (1969), Ketil Hvoslef
Ketil Hvoslef
Ketil Hvoslef is a Norwegian composer. He is the son of composer Harald Sæverud.Hvoslef studied viola and organ at the Bergen Music Conservatory graduating in 1962...

 (1993) and Jon Mostad
Jon Mostad
Jon Mostad is a composer from Fredrikstad, Norway. He received the Norwegian state three year scholarship for artists from 1982 until 1984.-Musical style:...

 (1993-4). Gunnar Sønstevold
Gunnar Sønstevold
Gunnar Sønstevold was a Norwegian composer. He was born in Elverum, and married composer Maj Sønstevold in 1941. He composed orchestral works, vocal music, chamber music, and music to a number of plays, ballets and films. He headed the Music Department of the Norwegian Broadcasting...

 (1966) wrote music for Peer Gynt as a ballet.

Notable productions

The first US
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 production of Peer Gynt, in 1907, starred the noted actor Richard Mansfield
Richard Mansfield
Richard Mansfield was an English actor-manager best known for his performances in Shakespeare plays, Gilbert and Sullivan operas and for his portrayal of the dual title roles in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde....

, in one of his very last roles before his untimely death. In 1923, Joseph Schildkraut
Joseph Schildkraut
Joseph Schildkraut was an Austrian stage and film actor.-Early life:Born in Vienna, Austria, Schildkraut was the son of stage actor Rudolph Schildkraut. The younger Schildkraut moved to the United States in the early 1900s. He appeared in many Broadway productions...

 played the role on Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

, in a Theatre Guild
Theatre Guild
The Theatre Guild is a theatrical society founded in New York City in 1918 by Lawrence Langner, Philip Moeller, Helen Westley and Theresa Helburn. Langner's wife, Armina Marshall, then served as a co-director. It evolved out of the work of the Washington Square Players.Its original purpose was to...

 production, featuring Selena Royle
Selena Royle
Selena Royle was an American stage, television and film actress.-Early life and career:Born in New York City, Royle's parents were playwright Edwin Milton Royle and actress Selena Fetter . She had an older sister Josephine Fetter Royle . She turned to acting despite the objections of her parents...

, Helen Westley
Helen Westley
Helen Westley was an American character actress.-Career:Born as Henrietta Remsen Meserole Manney, Helen Westley was a member of the original board of the Theatre Guild, and appeared in many of their productions, among them Peer Gynt, and some of their productions of plays by George Bernard...

, Dudley Digges
Dudley Digges
Sir Dudley Digges , of Chilham Castle, Kent , was a Member of Parliament, elected to the Parliament of 1614 and that of 1621, and also a "Virginia adventurer," an investor who ventured his capital in the Virginia Company of London...

, and, before he entered films, Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson was a Romanian-born American actor. A popular star during Hollywood's Golden Age, he is best remembered for his roles as gangsters, such as Rico in his star-making film Little Caesar and as Rocco in Key Largo...

. In 1944, at the Old Vic
Old Vic
The Old Vic is a theatre located just south-east of Waterloo Station in London on the corner of The Cut and Waterloo Road. Established in 1818 as the Royal Coburg Theatre, it was taken over by Emma Cons in 1880 when it was known formally as the Royal Victoria Hall. In 1898, a niece of Cons, Lilian...

, Ralph Richardson
Ralph Richardson
Sir Ralph David Richardson was an English actor, one of a group of theatrical knights of the mid-20th century who, though more closely associated with the stage, also appeared in several classic films....

 played the role, surrounded by some of the greatest British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 actors of the time in supporting or bit roles, among them Sybil Thorndike
Sybil Thorndike
Dame Agnes Sybil Thorndike CH DBE was a British actress.-Early life:She was born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire to Arthur Thorndike and Agnes Macdonald. Her father was a Canon of Rochester Cathedral...

 as Åse, and Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM was an English actor, director, and producer. He was one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century. He married three times, to fellow actors Jill Esmond, Vivien Leigh, and Joan Plowright...

 as the Button Molder. In 1951, John Garfield
John Garfield
John Garfield was an American actor adept at playing brooding, rebellious, working-class character roles. He grew up in poverty in Depression-era New York City and in the early 1930s became an important member of the Group Theater. In 1937 he moved to Hollywood, eventually becoming one of Warner...

 fulfilled his wish to star in a Broadway production, featuring Mildred Dunnock
Mildred Dunnock
Mildred Dunnock was an American theater, film and television actress.- Early life :Born in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated from Western Senior High School, Dunnock was a school teacher who did not start acting until she was in her early thirties...

 as Åse. Sadly, this production was not a success, and is said by some to have contributed to Garfield's death at age 39.

On film, years before he became a superstar, the seventeen-year-old Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston was an American actor of film, theatre and television. Heston is known for heroic roles in films such as The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, El Cid, and Planet of the Apes...

 starred as Peer in a silent, student-made, low budget film version of the play produced in 1941. Peer Gynt, however, has never been given a full-blown treatment as a sound film in English on the motion picture screen, although there have been several television productions, and a sound film was produced in German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 in 1934.

In 1957, Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
Ernst Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. Described by Woody Allen as "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera", he is recognized as one of the most accomplished and...

 produced a five-hour stage version of Peer Gynt, at Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

's Malmö City Theatre
Malmö City Theatre
Malmö City Theatre in Malmö, Sweden, is the main theatre of Malmö.- History :The first theatre in Malmö, Malmö Teater, was built in 1808 but became out of use in 1938. The Malmö City Theatre was built by the architect Sigurd Lewerentz between 1932 and 1944. From its opening in 1944 and until 1992...

, with Max von Sydow
Max von Sydow
Max von Sydow is a Swedish actor. He has also held French citizenship since 2002. He has starred in many films and had supporting roles in dozens more...

 as Peer Gynt. Bergman produced the play again, 34 years later, in 1991, at Sweden's Royal Dramatic Theatre
Royal Dramatic Theatre
The Royal Dramatic Theatre is Sweden's national stage for "spoken drama", founded in 1788. Around one thousand shows are put on annually on the theatre's eight running stages....

, this time with Börje Ahlstedt
Börje Ahlstedt
Nils Börje Ahlstedt is a Swedish actor who has worked extensively with the world famous director Ingmar Bergman in films like Fanny and Alexander , The Best Intentions , Sunday's Children and Saraband . Ahlstedt has also worked with the directors Bo Widerberg and Kay Pollak.Börje Ahlstedt was...

 in the title role. Bergman chose not to use Grieg's music, nor the more modern Harald Sæverud composition, but rather traditional Norwegian folk music, and little of that either.

In 1993, Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer
Arthur Christopher Orne Plummer, CC is a Canadian theatre, film and television actor. He made his film debut in 1957's Stage Struck, and notable early film performances include Night of the Generals, The Return of the Pink Panther and The Man Who Would Be King.In a career that spans over five...

 starred in his own concert version of the play, with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in Hartford, Connecticut. This was a new performing version and a collaboration of Plummer and Hartford Symphony Orchestra Music Director Michael Lankester. Plummer had long dreamed of starring in a fully staged production of the play, but had been unable to. The 1993 production was not a fully staged version, but rather a drastically condensed concert
Concert
A concert is a live performance before an audience. The performance may be by a single musician, sometimes then called a recital, or by a musical ensemble, such as an orchestra, a choir, or a musical band...

 version, narrated by Plummer, who also played the title role, and accompanied by Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg
Edvard Hagerup Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt , and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.-Biography:Edvard Hagerup Grieg was born in...

's complete incidental music
Incidental music
Incidental music is music in a play, television program, radio program, video game, film or some other form not primarily musical. The term is less frequently applied to film music, with such music being referred to instead as the "film score" or "soundtrack"....

 for the play. This version included a choir and vocal parts for soprano and mezzo-soprano. Plummer performed the concert version again in 1995 with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with Lankester conducting. The 1995 production was broadcast on Canadian radio. It has never been presented on television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

. It has also never been released on compact disc
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

. In the 1990s Plummer and Lankester also collaborated on and performed similarly staged concert versions of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare (with music by Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

) and Ivan the Terrible (an arrangement of a Prokofiev film score with script for narrator). Among the three aforementioned Plummer/Lankester collaborations, all received live concert presentations and live radio broadcasts, but only Ivan the Terrible was released on CD.

In 2001 at the BBC Proms, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers
BBC Singers
The BBC Singers are the professional chamber choir of the BBC. As one of six BBC Performing Groups, the 24-voiced choir has been in existence for more than 80 years. The BBC Singers have commissioned and premiered works by the leading composers of the past century, including Benjamin Britten, Sir...

, conducted by Manfred Honeck
Manfred Honeck
Manfred Honeck is an Austrian conductor, the son of Otto and Frieda Honeck, from a family of nine children. One of his brothers is the Vienna Philharmonic leader Rainer Honeck....

, performed the complete incidental music in Norwegian with an English narration read by Simon Callow
Simon Callow
Simon Phillip Hugh Callow, CBE is an English actor, writer and theatre director. He is also currently a judge on Popstar to Operastar.-Early years:...

.

In 2006, Robert Wilson
Robert Wilson (director)
Robert Wilson is an American avant-garde stage director and playwright who has been called "[America]'s — or even the world's — foremost vanguard 'theater artist'". Over the course of his wide-ranging career, he has also worked as a choreographer, performer, painter, sculptor, video...

 staged a co-production revival with both the National Theater of Bergen and the Norwegian Theatre of Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

, Norway. Ann-Christin Rommen directed the actors in Norwegian (with English subtitles). This production mixed both Wilson's minimalist (yet constantly moving) stage designs with technological effects to bring out the play's expansive potential. Furthermore they utilized state-of-the-art microphones, sound systems, and recorded acoustic and electronic music to bring clarity to the complex and shifting action and dialogue. From April 11 through the 16th, they performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Brooklyn Academy of Music is a major performing arts venue in Brooklyn, a borough of New York City, United States, known as a center for progressive and avant garde performance....

's Howard Gilman Opera House.

In 2006, as part of the Norwegian Ibsen anniversary festival, Peer Gynt was set at the foot of the Great Sphinx of Giza
Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza , commonly referred to as the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt....

 near Cairo, Egypt (an important location in the original play). The director was Bentein Baardson. The performance was the centre of some controversy, with some critics seeing it as a display of colonialist attitudes.

In January 2008 the Guthrie Theater
Guthrie Theater
The Guthrie Theater is a center for theater performance, production, education, and professional training in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is the result of the desire of Sir Tyrone Guthrie, Oliver Rea, and Peter Zeisler to create a resident acting company that would produce and perform the classics in...

 in Minneapolis
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis , nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City," is the county seat of Hennepin County, the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the 48th largest in the United States...

 debuted a new translation of Peer Gynt by the poet Robert Bly
Robert Bly
Robert Bly is an American poet, author, activist and leader of the Mythopoetic Men's Movement.-Life:Bly was born in Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota, to Jacob and Alice Bly, who were of Norwegian ancestry. Following graduation from high school in 1944, he enlisted in the United States Navy, serving...

. Bly learned Norwegian from his grandparents while growing up in rural Minnesota, and later during several years of travel in Norway. This production stages Ibsen's text rather abstractly, tying it loosely into a modern birthday party for a 50 year old man. It also significantly cuts the length of the play. (An earlier production of the full-length play at the Guthrie required the audience to return a second night to see the second half of the play.)

In 2009, Dundee Rep with the National Theatre of Scotland toured a production. This interpretation, with much of the dialogue in modern Scots, received mixed reviews. The cast included Gerry Mulgrew as the older Peer. Directed by Dominic Hill.

In November 2010 Southampton Philharmonic Choir
Southampton Philharmonic Choir
The Southampton Philharmonic Choir is a large choral society based in Southampton, England.The choir's musical director is David Gibson. It sings with the students of Southampton University Phil and performs with a professional orchestra, the New London Sinfonia...

 and the New London Sinfonia performed the complete incidental music using a new English translation commissioned from Beryl Foster. In the performance, the musical elements were linked by an English narrative read by actor Samuel West
Samuel West
Samuel Alexander Joseph West is an English actor and theatre director. He is perhaps best known for his role in Howards End and his work on stage. He also starred in the award-winning play ENRON...

.

The 2011 Dublin Theatre Festival
Dublin Theatre Festival
The Dublin Theatre Festival is Europe's oldest specialized theatre festival. It was founded by theatre impresario Brendan Smith in 1957 and has, with the exception of two years, produced a season of international and Irish theatre each autumn. It is one of a number of key post-World War II events...

 presents a new version of Peer Gynt by Arthur Riordan, directed by Lynne Parker with music by Tarab.

Peer Gynt Festival

At Vinstra
Vinstra
Vinstra is the name of both a village and a river in Gudbrandsdalen. The village lies in Nord-Fron municipality in Oppland County, Norway. The administrative centre of Nord-Fron, the population is 2449. The village has rail connections via the Dovre railroad and has a high school. Highway E6...

 in Gudbrandsdalen, Henrik Ibsen and Peer Gynt have been celebrated with an annual festival since 1928. The festival is one of Norway’s main events, and is recognized by the Norwegian Government as a leading institution of presenting culture in nature.

The main event in the festival is the staging of Peer Gynt next to Lake Gålå. The play takes place in the same surroundings that Ibsen claims he found inspiration for the character Peer Gynt, and is regarded by many as the original. The play is performed with professional actors from the national theater institutions, and nearly 100 amateur actors. Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg
Edvard Hagerup Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt , and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.-Biography:Edvard Hagerup Grieg was born in...

's original Peer Gynt music is performed by a professional orchestra. The event is one of the most popular theater productions in Norway, attracting more than 17,000 people every summer.

Peer Gynt Sculpture Park

Peer Gynt Sculpture Park
Peer Gynt Sculpture Park
Peer Gynt Sculpture Park is a sculpture park located in Oslo, Norway. The sculpture park was created in honour of the man who is perhaps Norway’s most internationally known writer, Henrik Ibsen and is a monumental presentation of one of his most famous plays Peer Gynt, act by act.The park was...

 (Peer Gynt-parken) is a sculpture park located in Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

. Created in honour of Henrik Ibsen, it is a monumental presentation of Peer Gynt, scene by scene. It was established in 2006 by Selvaag, the company behind the housing development in the area. Most of the sculptures in this park are the result of an international sculpture competition.

Adaptations

In the 1930s German composer Werner Egk
Werner Egk
Werner Egk , born Werner Joseph Mayer, was a German composer.-Early career:He was born in the Swabian town of Auchsesheim, today part of Donauwörth, Germany. His family, of Catholic peasant stock, moved to Augsburg when Egk was six. He studied at a Benedictine Gymnasium and entered the municipal...

 wrote an opera based on the story.

In 1948, the composer Harald Sæverud made a new score for the nynorsk-production at "the Norwegian Theatre" (Det Norske Teatret) in Oslo. Sæverud's music is considered anti-romantic, humorous, and rough. Sæverud incorporated the national music of each of the friends in the fourth act, as per Ibsen's request.

In 1951, North Carolinian playwright Paul Green
Paul Green
Paul Eliot Green was an American playwright best known for his depictions of life in North Carolina during the first decades of the twentieth century...

 published an American version of the Norwegian play. This is the version in which actor John Garfield starred on Broadway.

In 1969, Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 impresario Jacques Levy
Jacques Levy
Jacques Levy was an American songwriter, theatre director, and clinical psychologist.Levy was born in New York City in 1935, and attended its City College. He received a doctorate in psychology from Michigan State University. Levy was a trained psychoanalyst, certified by the Menninger Institute...

 (who had previously directed the first version of Oh! Calcutta!
Oh! Calcutta!
Oh! Calcutta! is an avant-garde theatrical revue, created by British drama critic Kenneth Tynan. The show, consisting of sketches on sex-related topics, debuted Off-Broadway in 1969 and then in London in 1970. It ran in London for over 3,900 performances, and in New York initially for 1,314...

) commissioned The Byrds
The Byrds
The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member until the group disbanded in 1973...

' Roger McGuinn
Roger McGuinn
James Roger McGuinn is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is best known for being the lead singer and lead guitarist on many of The Byrds' records...

 to write the music for a pop (or country-rock) version of Peer Gynt, to be titled Gene Tryp. The play was apparently never completed, although McGuinn is currently (as of 2006) preparing a version for release. Several songs from the abortive show appeared on the Byrds' albums of 1970 and 1971.

In 1985–1987, John Neumeier
John Neumeier
John Neumeier is a well-known American ballet dancer, choreographer, and director. He has been the director and chief choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet since 1973. 5 years later he founded the Hamburg Ballet School, which also includes a boarding school...

 wrote a ballet "freely based on Ibsen's play", for which Alfred Schnittke
Alfred Schnittke
Alfred Schnittke ; November 24, 1934 – August 3, 1998) was a Russian and Soviet composer. Schnittke's early music shows the strong influence of Dmitri Shostakovich. He developed a polystylistic technique in works such as the epic First Symphony and First Concerto Grosso...

 composed the score.

In 1998, the Trinity Repertory Company
Trinity Repertory Company
Trinity Repertory Company is a non-profit regional theater located in Providence, Rhode Island. The theater is a member of the League of Resident Theatres. Founded in 1963, the theater is "one of the most respected regional theatres in the country"...

 of Providence
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

, Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

 commissioned David Henry Hwang
David Henry Hwang
David Henry Hwang is an American playwright who has risen to prominence as the preeminent Asian American dramatist in the U.S.He was born in Los Angeles, California and was educated at the Yale School of Drama and Stanford University...

 and Swiss director Stephan Muller to do an adaptation of Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt (1998 Adaptation)
Peer Gynt is a 1998 theatrical adaptation of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's classic play Peer Gynt by American playwright David Henry Hwang and Swiss director Stephan Muller. Combining many contemporary references with a streamlined turn of the original story, it was commissioned by the...

.

In 1998, playwright Romulus Linney
Romulus Linney (playwright)
Romulus Zachariah Linney IV was an American playwright and professor.-Life and career:Linney was born in Philadelphia, the son of Maitland Clabaugh and Romulus Zachariah Linney III. His great-grandfather was Republican Congressman Romulus Zachariah Linney. Linney was raised in Boone, North...

 directed his adaptation of the play, entitled Gint, at the Theatre for the New City in New York. This adaptation moved the play's action to 20th-century Appalachia and California.

In 2007, St. John's Prep of Danvers, Massachusetts
Danvers, Massachusetts
Danvers is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. Located on the Danvers River near the northeastern coast of Massachusetts, Danvers is most widely known for its association with the 1692 Salem witch trials, and for its famous asylum, the Danvers State Hospital.-17th century:The land...

 won the MHSDG Festival with their production starring Bo Burnham
Bo Burnham
Robert "Bo" Burnham is an American comedian, singer-songwriter, musician, actor, and Internet celebrity. Writing comedic and satirical songs with a politically incorrect slant, he achieved fame when his YouTube videos took off; they have received more than 70 million views...

.

In 2008, Theater in the Open in Newburyport, Massachusetts
Newburyport, Massachusetts
Newburyport is a small coastal city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, 35 miles northeast of Boston. The population was 21,189 at the 2000 census. A historic seaport with a vibrant tourism industry, Newburyport includes part of Plum Island...

, produced a production of Peer Gynt adapted and directed by Paul Wann and the company. Scott Smith, whose great, great grandfather (Ole Bull) was one of the inspirations for the character, was cast as Gynt.

In 2009, a DVD was released of Hans Spoerli's ballet adaptation of the play, which Spoerli choreographed. This version uses mostly the Grieg music, but adds selections by other composers. Spoken excerpts from the play, in Norwegian, are also included.

In Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, poet Dafna Eilat (:he:דפנה אילת)composed a poem in Hebrew called "Solveig", which she also set to music, its theme derived from the play and emphasizing the named character's boundless faithful love. It was performed by Hava Alberstein (see http://www.justsomelyrics.com/1269683/%D7%97%D7%95%D7%94-%D7%90%D7%9C%D7%91%D7%A8%D7%A9%D7%98%D7%99%D7%99%D7%9F-%D7%A1%D7%95%D7%9C%D7%95%D7%95%D7%92-Lyrics).

In 2011, the Polarity Ensemble Theater in Chicago adapted the play, where Peer’s mythic journey is envisioned as that of America itself, " a 150-year whirlwind tour of the American psyche."

External links

  • www.kreusch-sheet-music.net - Free Scores of piano arrangements of the two suites
  • Peer Gynt , freely available at Project Runeberg
    Project Runeberg
    Project Runeberg is an initiative patterned after Project Gutenberg that publishes freely available electronic versions of books significant to the culture and history of the Nordic countries...

     
  • Peer Gynt: a dramatic poem, published by Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1936. Color illustrations by Arthur Rackham
    Arthur Rackham
    Arthur Rackham was an English book illustrator.-Biography:Rackham was born in London as one of 12 children. At the age of 18, he worked as a clerk at the Westminster Fire Office and began studying part-time at the Lambeth School of Art.In 1892 he left his job and started working for The...

    . via Internet Archive
    Internet Archive
    The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge". It offers permanent storage and access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly 3 million public domain books. The Internet Archive...

    .
  • Peer Gynt Festival,
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